The Phases of An Incident Response Plan

by Carter Toni

Incident response is a documented plan that aids IT staff to recognise and manage a cybersecurity threat. Whether it is a data breach or a cyber attack, an incident response can be a powerful tool in managing it.

There are some phases that lead to the creation of an incident response plan. The plan should be set up very strategically, to ensure that it addresses the suspected breach and covers all the specific areas.

Phases of Incident Response

Without proper phase to phase creation, an incident response plan is not set up professionally. Thus, a little time must be dedicated to it

Phase 1: Preparation:

This is the very first phase of an incident response plan and the most important. The outcome is heavily dependent on it. In this phase you must:

  • Train your employees. Every employee must have a role to play, in case a cyber attack or data breach takes place.
  • Create drill scenarios for the incident response to analyze how well your team can manage a data breach.

Documenting your incident response plan is crucial. Test the plan to evaluate its efficacy and your team’s training as well.

Phase 2: Identification:

In this phase, you have to determine whether your company has been breached or not. An incident response breach or threat can generate from different sources. Thus, identification is a crucial part of the response plan.

Ask yourself or your team to look into various aspects like when did the breach happen, who discovered it and how and how many areas have been affected by it. And how it can be solved.

Phase 3: Restriction:

When the breach is identified, the first step that employers usually take is to delete everything. But this decision made in haste, will not be beneficial for you in the long run. You are erasing valuable data that will be helpful in identifying the source of the breach. This data can play a huge role in developing a plan to prevent it from happening in the future again.

The best step to take, is to restrict the breach. This way, it won’t spread to your entire system. Disconnect all your systems from the internet connection and always have restriction strategies ready beforehand.

Phase 4: Eradication:

Now that the breach is eradicated, you need to identify its root source and eradicate it. Simply put; all the malware must be removed and you must teach your systems again. Don’t forget to update your system regularly as well. You can do this on your own or simply hire a third party as well. Whatever you choose, you need to be thorough. If a single trace of malware remains in the system, you will lose your data. 

Phase 5: Data Recovery

The final phase of an incident response plan is to recover the data and bring your systems back to the normal environment. The most important factor to consider is that business operations and systems should start running, without any malware trace remaining, to feel safe.


Once the incident response plan is successful, it is important to learn some basic lessons from it and discuss whatever you all have learnt through it. Analyze the situation and document all the details of the breach. Also, look into the plan and evaluate what worked for you and what did not. It will help you in strengthening your systems and prevent future data breaches as well.

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